21 November 2008

FB: poverty looms

20 August 2008 at 14:01

Last year, I thought it would be a great idea to go and work at a Summer Camp in the USA. I had two jobs here in Hamilton: I worked as a swimming instructor at Waterworld, and also as a counter bitch for Revlon at Farmers.

In May, I accepted a position as a counselor and lifeguard at the International Sports Training Camp in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. I left New Zealand with high hopes in the first days of June. After a 50-hour journey involving layovers, a night in Las Vegas, a harrowing walk through the streets of downtown New York City at midnight, and a bus trip which I couldn't even afford, I arrived at my camp. It was great, but for some reason I didn't think so.

Ten days later, I was by myself in New York again. I co-ordinated my efforts with some friends, and within a few hours I caught a flight from La Guardia to Chicago. Chicago? Why yes. The home of my best friend, and the world's greatest best friend at that: Jen.

Now, Jen is a planner. She doesn't take to spontaneity too well, so when I called her from a train somewhere between Chicago and Normal, IL, she freaked out a little. Not that she let me know about it - she's a level-headed type, and just asked me what I would like to eat while I stayed with her. So not only did she take me into her home, she collected me from the train station having already bought me some bagels and salad. To say I love this girl is the understatement of the century.

So I spent a week with Jen in her wee apartment, getting sunburnt, swinging on chairswings at her work, buying underwear. You know, the usual. Then I accepted another camp placement, this time at Camp Hoffman, in West Kingston, Rhode Island.

Within days I was on my way back to New England, and at my home for the next eight weeks. To say I made the worst of a bad situation is another of those gross, sweeping understatements I am so accustomed to making.

If I hadn't liked ISTC, then I hated Hoffman. And I made sure everyone knew about it. It was the most ill-spent two months of my life, and it was completely my own doing. I arrived with a head full of shit, and over the course of camp, I managed to poison most of my fellow counsellors with it. So, guys, if you're reading this, I apologise. I was awful, and it's taken me a while to realise it.

An upshot of working at camp was earning money. And, as such, spending money each weekend at Providence Place mall. Consequently, when camp finished, I found myself close to penniless and sleeping on a marble bench at Kennedy Plaza, the bus station in Providence. Great going, I know.

I went to Canada afterwards, saw some friends, and then went to LA. I spent three days frollicking in the Santa Monica sun, having a great time. I love LA with pretty much my entire heart. I had the best time in years, and I didn't need to spend a cent. On the Third Street Promenade, I was entertained by Tommi Williams (I even gave her some of the little cash I had left, because she was truly incredible), and a guy dressed and painted entirely in silver. I took the number one bus to UCLA, where I frollicked some more and wished I was a student. I was sad to leave, but also excited to return to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

So, I was home, and unemployed. It was a pretty lame time, made worse by some ridiculous behaviour on my part, and I went from August until November without even a sniff of a job.

Eventually, my long and fruitless search was rewarded. Okay, it helped that my mother had a hand in the works, but I accepted a fixed-term position as Inventory Controller and Financial Administrator at Campus Computers, at the University of Waikato. It's a pretty mundane job, but I met some fun people (Lochlan), some idiots (Malcolm and Gawain), and it had the added bonus of hanging out with my mom at work. Ha ha.

So since then, I've been sitting at my desk by the door of ITS.G.85, waiting for a knight in shining armour (or an Indian riding an elephant, maybe?) to come and whisk me away.

Alas, it's now August 20, and my position, as communicated to me in a rather brusk letter from Human Resources this morning, is due to expire on August 22. So far, I have nowhere to go. I've applied for a couple of jobs, didn't get them, so I'm actually a little excited about the prospect of brief unemployment.

A little excited.

But also a little scared of going back to square one. Anyone who has known me a while (since let's say, 2005, when I got my first credit card) knows about my history of financial instability. Since I've had this job, I've raised more than $7000 towards either my new Felt bike frame, or my trip to Ethiopia. But, I'm not going to lie about it, I've had trouble. My cellphone got disconnected earlier this year because I didn't pay the bill for a few months. Why? Because I'd spent my cellphone bill money on makeup. Probably. I mean, I've lost track of what I've bought, because I am a compulsive shopper. I guess old habits die hard. Ask anyone who's been in my car when I've driven past Greensboro Street, and tried not to crane my neck to see if there's a white Caldina parked down there.


I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you have a job, GIVE IT TO ME.

Thank you for your time :-)

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